It’s just a movie, guys! There are fans, and then there are Star Wars fans. Simon Pegg, 48, is familiar with the rabid fan base phenomenon, having starred in three Mission: Impossible and Star Trek films apiece, but he says Star Wars fans crossed the line in their criticism of Kelly Marie Tran and Ahmed Best.
The Stars Wars: The Last Jedi star famously scrubbed her Instagram clean in June after facing months of trolling for her character, Rose Tico. In a video interview with Now This, Pegg admits he was upset after the release of The Phantom Menace, and was one of many who criticized the franchise for dragging Jar Jar Binks into it. The actor who played Jar Jar, Best, revealed earlier this year that the criticism of his character made him contemplate suicide, and afterwards, it made Pegg rethink his approach.
"I feel so ashamed of the fact that there was actually a victim, a human victim in that," Pegg said "I think most people were regarding Jar Jar Binks like he was a real creature and wailing on him for being annoying, or whatever, or not liking him. But there was a person behind that. And I read that and just thought, ‘Christ, I’m one of those people.’ It makes me feel awful."
Regarding the criticsm of Tran and director Rian Johnson, he said: "There’s no diplomacy in that, there’s no empathy. We’re becoming very, very insular as human beings. We’re becoming very self-driven, selfist, our opinions, our needs, our wants. I feel sorry for Kelly Marie Tran because she was just in a film — a f---ing film, that’s all it is. None of it matters, none of it ‘I think it would be nice if everyone just got on. You know and stopped being so aggressive.’"
JOHNSON DELETES 20K EMAILS
Meanwhile, Johnson seems to have taken pre-emptive action online after James Gunn got fired from Guardians of the Galaxy and several other celebrities have been castigated for old social media posts they made.
The director deleted about 20,000 tweets from his Twitter account, prompting some to question his motivation. He responded, tweeting: "I don’t think I’ve ever tweeted anything that bad. But it’s nine years of stuff written largely off the cuff as ephemera, if trolls scrutinizing it for ammunition is the new normal, this seems like a ‘why not?’ move."